Indoor air can be worse than what you’re breathing outside
The Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration NEWS website reports Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) statistics which say that each year 3.8 million people around the world die prematurely because of exposure to indoor air pollution.
The EPA points out that we spend nearly 90% of our time indoors, where pollutants can be two to five times higher than outdoor levels. Outside, it might be pollution caused by vehicles. Inside, according to Asthma for Dummies author William E. Berger, it can be just dust. Berger writes that the average six-home room collects 40 pounds of dust each year. What steps can we take to keep indoor air clean?
A breath of fresh air
The EPA has produced a guide to portable air cleaners, as well as furnace and HVAC filters. The safety-minded organization leads with the advice that one of the most effective approaches to improve indoor air quality is to bring clean outdoor air inside.
If that’s not possible, the EPA says your next best bet – backed by research – is to filter the indoor air you breathe using a portable air cleaner, or by upgrading the air filters on your heating and air conditioning systems.
Either approach is a step in the right direction, the EPA says, but the organization warns that neither approach can remove all pollutants from the air. That’s because some air pollution particulate matter is just too fine to catch or filter. Formaldehyde, pollen, and mold, for example, are a fraction of the width of a human hair and may not even be visible to the naked eye.
Portable air cleaners
A portable air cleaner can be a solution to improve air quality in a single room. The EPA points out that quality air filters do a good job at either capturing gases or particles – but not both. For this reason, it’s important to look for a portable air cleaner with both types of filters. Many portable air cleaners will only have particle filters.
If the portable air cleaner you get filters particles, the EPA advises you to make sure it has a clean air delivery rate (CADR) sufficient for the size of the room. The higher the CADR rating the more particles it can filter from the air in the room because more air is flowing through the filter.
These filters are known as HEPA filters, which stands for high-efficiency particulate air. Your portable air cleaner might also be able to filter gases. It won’t use a HEPA filter for this. Activated carbon filters are more suited. The CADR rating system doesn’t apply to these filters. It’s only used to measure the removal of particulate matter.
HVAC system filters
A portable air cleaner does its job as soon as you turn it on. Not so with HVAC filters. They only filter air when your HVAC system is operating. The EPA observes that your air conditioning or heater typically operates less than 25% of the time you’re home.
This is something to keep in mind if you are concerned about indoor air quality. HVAC filters are generally designed to filter particulate matter, so you’ll also want to keep this in mind if you are concerned about gas-related indoor air quality.
HVAC systems usually have filters in the ducts. Does this mean you’ll miss out on the ability to improve air quality if you install a ductless mini split system to heat and cool your home or office?
Not at all. You can end up with even better filtering options for cleaner air – some which employ cutting edge technology. The Gree brand of ductless mini split systems carried by ComfortUp features a variety of advanced air filters.
- The Gree advanced active carbon filter excels at removing gas-related odors such as tobacco smoke and pet smells. These gas molecules are trapped by the activated carbon atoms in the filter.
- The Gree photocatalytic filter oxidizes and degrades organic contaminants using broad-spectrum ultraviolet (UV) light that can effectively eliminate 99.9% of bacteria and viruses in the air stream.
- The Gree catechin filter uses a filter that’s made with catechin, which is extracted from green tea. This substance possesses powerful sterilization properties, and it’s excellent at absorbing odors.
- The Gree silver ion filter can trap and destroy harmful microorganisms. The silver ions recycle themselves, so this type of filter is long-lasting and environmentally friendly.